International pirates take on Hollywood

News & Politics

This morning, we're reporting live from the Wide World of Digital Rights, a.k.a., the future of your cultural intake. Today we'll be in Sweden, where a website called has decided to thrust the discussion of "what does copyright mean today?" into the limelight following their raid by Swedish police.

The background: US authorities are rumored to have put pressure on Swedish police to shut down and raided the offices of the website ThePirateBay, which is a BitTorrent tracking site. The short explanation of what that means: it's a website that allows people to post torrent files, which facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing. BitTorrent traffic accounts for huge percentages of all Internet traffic these days, because it's one of the most valid ways to transfer large chunks of data. Remember Napster? Child's play, compared to what BitTorrent-based technologies can do.

Needless to say, people in Hollywood and the RIAA are completely freaking out over all this BitTorrent stuff (though Warner Brothers did make the bold move of setting up a BitTorrent pay-for-play deal a month ago), and thus, sites like ThePirateBay are coming under fire.

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